We just returned home after a week in Ohio, which included a high school reunion and staying with great friends who have become family. The week was jam-packed with trips down Memory Lane as we drove past places Sheila and I had lived; spent time in old neighborhoods and then had time with friends at the reunion itself.
But this morning isn't about friendships, but a surprising sense of patriotism I found during the trip. To clarify, it's not so much I was surprised, but about the stimulus that brought out the feelings.
Every morning Sheila and I walk for half an hour. When we're home, it's just around our neighborhood, but being out of town it was a little harder to do. Well, in our home town, we'd drive over to Riverside Cemetery each morning. It's an odd feeling walking in a cemetery where you grew up because the first thing you notice is the familiar names of so many families from your childhood. Often they're the parents or grandparents of old friends, but here and there we'd be surprised by the grave of a classmate.
The second thing was the number of flags as a tribute to past members in the military. They were everywhere. They created a sense of pride and respect, first for the deceased having served and second for the members of the local community who have maintained the memories by placing a flag on each grave of a soldier.
I grew up in the Viet Nam era and had a college deferment to start, later followed by the first lottery, but that doesn't change the respect I have for all my friends who served, my Dad who served or our son who serves now. From the Civil War right through to today's losses, a flag had been placed wherever appropriate.
It wasn't morbid or even eerie to be walking in a cemetery each day. In fact, it was calming, but it leaves me thinking that I have no point to this morning's Sunday Morning Reflections. In spite of the chaos in Washington on both sides who behave like kids fighting on a playground, the flags in the cemetery represent soldiers who fought for the freedom for so many politicians to behave badly.
I'm reminded of a slogan used by HonorFlight.org. I took my Dad on their trip to D.C. a few years back.
"We can't all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by."
If you've got a veteran of the US military in the family, check out HonorFlight.org with a click on the banner below. It's a pretty remarkable non-profit providing a wonderful service for veterans.
In the mean time, wishing all of you a wonderful Sunday and a day of peace, smiles, eleven-second hugs and time with those people most important to you. In a world that at times has gone mad, take the time today to appreciate everybody around you.
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